Murken Column: Area Swimmers Put on Display at State Meet in Iowa City

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Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

I can’t swim.

That’s not a way of saying I’m incapable of ripping off a 50 flat in the 100 butterfly but rather a statement of reality.

Put it this way, had a stumble or a missed step caused me to end up in the water at the University Iowa Campus and Wellness Center as I watched West High celebrate its state title on Saturday the loudest screams wouldn’t have been the celebratory shrieks coming from the Trojan swimmers.

My lack of aquatic aptitude left me in awe of what I watched at the state swim meet on Saturday.

I’m always impressed by the athletic abilities of the players I cover. I could never dunk a basketball, throw a football or hit a backhand winner like the athletes I watch each week.

But the swimming?

As someone who has always faced a fear of water the display put on by the best swimmers in the state on Saturday was amazing to see up close but you don’t have to be deathly afraid of the deep end to appreciate what went down at the state swim meet.

First, the atmosphere is electric.

If you’ve never attended a state meet check it out. The facility is top notch, the fans are great but be prepared,  it’s loud. Good loud. iIs what you want the atmosphere at a high school sporting event to be like.

Watching the coaches and athletes that line the pool to cheer on teammates is worth the price of admission alone.

(While we're at it kudos to West High athletic director Craig Huegel and his staff for helping to put on a top-notch event for all the swimmers in the state. I'm sure it takes a village). 

In the pool Saturday was pinnacle of the golden era of prep swimming in Iowa City.

New state records were set in six of the 11 events on Saturday with City High senior standout Forrest Frazier a part of half of those record-breaking performances.

West High won the state title in impressive fashion and City High posted its first top-five team finish since 1994.

Not a bad day for Iowa City swimmers.

“There is nothing like it in the world,” West High coach Byron Butler said of winning the state title. “This team has been so close all season and to have so many guys contribute today is really special.”

Frazier solidified his spot as the best to ever hit the water in a City High swim cap.

The University of California recruit pushed his career state champions count to six with three titles on Saturday while earning the title as the meets’ most outstanding performer for the second time in his career.

Frazier broke his own state record in the 100 breaststroke by more than a second while becoming the second swimmer in City High history to win a state title in the same event three straight seasons.

He set a state record in the 200 IM and helped the City High 200 medley relay team win just the second relay title in program history in a state record time.

“It is no surprise to me to see him continuing to improve,” City High coach Zane Hugo said. “He does have a lot of talent but he backs it up with a lot of hard work so that’s why he’s been successful from a young age and continues to have success.”

Frazier was fantastic on Saturday. West High was equally impressive while winning its third title in program history.

The Trojans used a true team effort to claim its first crown since 2015.

West High scored in all 11 events, had two individuals score in five events and had three individuals earn points in two different events.

All three West High relay teams posted top three finishes including the 200 medley squad that was second to City High and also broke the previous state meet record.

An impressive day for area swimmers ended with a well-earned victory dive for Butler and his team.

Hey, better them than me.

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